Nadine Maenza named USCIRF Chair for 2021-2022
06/17/2021 Washington, DC (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) welcomes the appointment of Nadine Maenza, a longstanding servant to the promotion of human rights, as Chair for the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). In a statement following her election, Maenza pledged to continue to “unflinchingly identify threats to religious freedom around the world”, while expressing her eagerness to meet once again in person with U.S. government officials to advocate the adoption of USCIRF’s policy recommendations.
Maenza’s qualifications for the position of Chair speak for themselves. Since her appointment to the Commission in 2018, she has taken part in many USCIRF-sponsored conferences and hearings, and served in delegations to Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Myanmar, Bahrain, Indonesia, Iraq, Azerbaijan, Syria, Thailand, Taiwan, and Uzbekistan to advocate for the rights of vulnerable minority religious groups. In combination with her on-the-ground experience, Maenza’s time spent in leadership roles will grant her a well-rounded ability to address the complex issues of persecution and identity suppression as USCIRF Chair. Moreover, Maenza’s particular prowess in Middle Eastern affairs provides expertise at a critical time for the promotion of religious freedom in the region. As exemplified by her recent condemnation of Turkish airstrikes against noncombatants in Northern Iraq, Maenza will unilaterally defend human rights regardless of the perpetrator’s relationship with the United States government.
ICC also welcomes the election of Nury Turkel as Vice Chair of USCIRF. Like Maenza, Turkel’s impressively well-rounded experience as a human rights defender and foreign policy expert will enhance USCIRF’s ability to advocate for greater protection of religious freedom around the world. Turkel has previously been named as one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People for his promotion of Uyghur human rights as the first-ever US-educated Uyghur attorney. Together, Turkel and Maenza will be faced with the critical task of working to confront China over its genocidal suppression of Uyghurs in its Xinjiang province, a blatant violation of the religious freedom standards of both the United States and the international community.
ICC Director of Advocacy Matias Perttula said, “We at ICC welcome the election of Nadine Menza as Chair of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom and Nury Turkel as Vice Chair. We look forward to their continued work with USCIRF under their leadership and supporting our common mission to advance international religious freedom.”
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